WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. intelligence officials are seeking to explain why the Obama administration's understanding of the Sept. 11 attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi is "evolving."
Intelligence officials say they first believed the attack began spontaneously after protests over an anti-Islamic film outside the U.S. Embassy in Cairo — and that's what they told the White House.
Answering criticism from Republicans, Director of National Intelligence spokesman Shawn Turner says officials thought the Libyan militants hijacked a similar protest in Benghazi, using the demonstration to launch an attack killed U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans.
They now believe the protest was part of a deliberate, organized terrorist attack carried out by al-Qaida sympathizers, though it's still unclear if a particular militant group was in charge.